CHICAGO -- A.J. Burnett has had his share of embarrassments in his two-plus years with the Yankees.
Not being able to pick up his first victory since June 29 Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field has to rank among them.
Spotted a 12-run lead after three innings, Burnett could not make it through the fifth. Overall, of course, the night was a net positive for the Yankees as they won their sixth straight with an 18-7 victory in front of 23,873.
As Joe Girardi came to get Burnett with one out in the fifth, the righthander started his way off the mound just before the manager got there, plopping the ball in his hand as he walked past. Cameras caught him tearing at his jersey in the dugout, though he said afterward he was upset with himself, not Girardi.
"Joe's got to do what's best for the team to keep us ahead in that game," Burnett said. "The way I was throwing the ball, it didn't seem like I could do it . . . I was angry at myself. Those guys came out, swung the bats early and got me the lead. All I have to do is establish the zone and throw strikes.
"I wasn't able to put anyone away and I had no hook tonight and my fastball was up. You can't pitch up and not have your curveball. Not a good combo."
The 18 runs were a season-best for the Yankees -- they scored 17 twice, most recently last Saturday night against the Orioles. And the 23 hits, including a 5-for-6 night from Derek Jeter, were the second-most they've had all year.
The Yankees (67-42) stayed a game behind the first-place Red Sox, against whom they start a three-game series Friday night at Fenway Park.
Burnett allowed a season-worst 13 hits and matched a season worst by allowing seven earned runs.
"I just feel that he's frustrated," said Girardi, who said he didn't feel Burnett was showing him up. "I always talk about, I don't want guys to be happy when I pull them. I want them to want to stay in the game. It's a tough night for him. I can understand frustration because there's a lot of emotion in this game . . . tonight's a night I would have loved to get him a win but I just felt like I had to make a change."
Cory Wade (2-0), who pitched 12/3 scoreless innings got the victory.
Much of the discussion of the last week has been who would depart the rotation between Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, but there's no question for whom Yankees fans would vote out of the current six-man rotation if given a choice -- the man in the third year of a five-year, $82.5-million deal now winless in his last six starts.
Girardi said, for sure, Burnett would take his next scheduled turn in the rotation, Wednesday against Anaheim.
Since his victory over the Brewers June 29, Burnett's ERA has climbed to 4.54 from 4.05. In his 10-15 season last year, when he finished with a 5.26 ERA, Burnett's ERA after his first start in August was 4.93.
He said he is not headed in that direction a second straight year.
"It's a bump in the road," Burnett said. "I can't beat myself up. I have to stay positive. Believe me, I still believe I'm important. I believe that I'm a big part of this team and I'm going to be a big part of this team. I'm going to get on a roll and it's just a matter of time."
An offense that has given him limited support this season -- an average of 4.94 runs per start coming into the game -- more than did its job Friday night.
Derek Jeter went 5-for-6 to match a career high for hits, the second time he's done that in the last month, quietly raising his average to .280. Jeter, who had two RBIs, went 5-for-5 July 9 at the Stadium, of course, the afternoon he collected his 3,000th hit. Wednesday night's performance gave him 3,027, with his second-inning single pushing him past Lou Brock for sole possession of 23rd place on the all-time list.
"I'm having good at-bats," Jeter said. "I feel since I've been back I've been swinging the bat a lot better."
Curtis Granderson had four hits and five RBIs and Cano and Eric Chavez added three hits and four RBIs. Chavez hit his first homer as a Yankee in a seven-run third that featured Mark Teixeira's two-run triple. The triple was Teixeira's first of the season.
Leading 13-1 in the fourth, it seemed inconceivable Burnett wouldn't get his first victory in more than a month. But he allowed five runs in the fourth and when three of the first four batters of the fifth reached -- resulting in a run -- Girardi called on Wade to settle things down. Wade, Luis Ayala and Rafael Soriano held the White Sox scoreless the rest of the way.
Asked if there were any positives to be taken from the night, Burnett said, "I get to go in five days, that's about it."